Senator Menendez pleads not guilty to corruption charges in Manhattan federal court


U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), his wife Nadine, and two New Jersey businessmen pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court this morning.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Senator Menendez is accused of accepting of hundreds of thousands of dollars in corrupt payments via cash, gold, a luxury car, mortgage payments, and more.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed the indictment Friday morning naming five people, which also included Fred Daibes and Jose Uribe.

The only defendant not present today was Wael Hana, who entered his not guilty plea yesterday after getting arrested at JFK International Airport. He was released on a $5 million bond.

While the hearing expectedly caused a media circus, the court proceeding itself was largely uneventful with the Menendezes simply answering questions with “yes, your honor.”

Videoing federal court proceedings is prohibited, therefore a good portion of the morning saw reporters attempting to catch the Menendezes entering or exiting the building.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang allowed four defendants to be released on bond: Bob Menendez at $100,000, surrounding his passport though still able to travel abroad on professional business, Nadine Menendez at $250,000, with travel restricted to New Jersey, Florida, New York, and Washington, $1 million for Dabies, and $2 million for Uribe.

The three-count indictment charges Menendez and his wife with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color and official right.

They are accused of having a “corrupt relationship” with Hana, Uribe, and Daibes. Those three are charged with the first two counts.

Overall, the indictment charges that the Menendezes accepted corrupt payments for their mortgage, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300, $486,471 in cash, another $79,760 from the safe deposit box, two one-kilogram gold bars, and 11 one-ounce gold bars.

Menendez is also accused of trading government secrets with the country of Egypt to help secure a U.S. Department of Agriculture contract with Hana’s halal meat company.

28 other Democratic U.S. Senators, including his friend and junior New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, have called on Menendez to step down due to the severity of the charges.

Menendez has scoffed at the notion of resigning, claiming he is innocent as reporters spotted him entering the elevator at his Englewood Cliffs home yesterday.

That shouldn’t be particularly surprising, given that he gave a public statement on Monday at Hudson County Community College on Monday indicating he would not be vacating his seat, though he has already vacated his post as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

NBC New York reported last night that the ongoing investigation now includes the FBI seeking to determine if Egyptian intelligence had a role in the case.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Damien Williams said on Friday that the investigation “is very much ongoing.”

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353